Diamond Youth’s latest EP Orange begins with the hanging sound of gritty guitars on opener “Cannonball,” which seems to hark back to the grunge era while sprinkling in carefully crafted harmonies and a supple guitar hook. In this first tune the band exhibits a common thread throughout the entire album: cohesiveness. Diamond Youth’s sound is impeccably tight and is the kind of rock capable of getting even the most reluctant listeners bobbing their heads.
Following the opening track and lead single is the song “Separator,” which aligns itself on the airier side of things, accentuated by poppy melodic guitar parts and a consistently pounding drumbeat that features extensive use of deep and fully tuned toms. This song captures an altogether feel-good emotion that in many ways transports the listener into a content and secure little bubble of bliss.
Midway through the EP is “Come Down,” a tune that plays on the idea of dynamics, shifting halfway through from a laid back and mellow jam into a full-on banger. “Come Down” begs comparisons to Foo Fighters and their signature style of playing with the tension between loud and soft, particularly on their album Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace. Once again the band plays to their strengths, harnessing in on the catchy yet simplistic riffs that set them apart from other artists in the stale arena of indie rock.
The standout track on the album, however, is the title track, which feels the most out of place with its dissonant and heavily distorted guitars that add an extra crunch to the still melodic and quite charming vocals. Following “Come Down,” “Orange” almost goes back in time bridging the gap between late-era Foo Fighters to a sound reminiscent of the early days of Nirvana. This clever combination of heavy foot-pounding rock with the vocal style of a top 40 pop singer provides the obvious high point of the album.
The rest of the EP serves as a gentle easing down after the aforementioned peak, keeping with the theme of rock meets pop, but on a much more laid back level. The drums set the pace for these last two songs, falling comfortably into both the always hard to obtain “pocket” and a mellow yet distinctively cheery groove.
Overall, Diamond Youth’s Orange is a straightforwardly good indie rock album that treads water towards the heavier end of the spectrum, while still maintaining certain pop sensibilities that allow it to transcend opposite poles of a genre and appeal to varying music lovers. The only thing lacking about this EP is a distinct lyrical depth that genuinely connects to the listener. Oftentimes I found myself focusing more on the notes vocalist Justin Gilman was singing and not on the words themselves. This grievance is of course only a small quip and barely diminishes the overall effect of the record. At the end of the day, Orange is a solid EP by a solid band with a lot of potential to break out of their shell on a full length album.